Hooper retains Wallabies captaincy

Wallabies loose forward Michael Hooper has been reinstated as Australia’s captain for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship.

The 99-Test veteran, who led the Wallabies during the 2019 World Cup, has retained the captain’s armband under new head coach Dave Rennie.

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Hooper first captained the Wallabies in 2014, becoming the 82nd player to lead Australia, and the youngest player at 22 years and 223 days to captain the side since 1961.

‘It’s an absolute honour to be the Wallabies captain and I want to thank Dave, the Wallabies management team as well as Rugby Australia for their support and endorsement,’ Hooper said.

‘It’s a privilege to wear the Wallabies jersey. I feel proud to lead my teammates and to represent those players that have gone before and all Australians.

‘I’m really excited about this group and the direction we are heading. We have already spent some quality time together, defining who we are and what we stand for and what we plan to achieve in the coming months.’

Wallabies greats George Gregan (59) and John Eales (55) are the only two players who have captained Australia on more occasions than Hooper (46).

The 27-year-old is also one of only four players to have twice won the John Eales Medal for Wallabies Players’ Player of the Year.

‘I’ve been really impressed with Hoops. We’ve spoken a lot over the past nine months and it’s highlighted his passion and commitment,’ Wallabies coach Rennie said.

‘He’s a good man with an outstanding work ethic and he’s a great role model for our young men coming through. He’s keen to lead, and is highly respected by the Wallaby family. In the end his appointment was a straight-forward decision.’

The Wallabies are set to depart for New Zealand on Friday before two weeks quarantine in Christchurch, New Zealand. Australia will then face the All Blacks in two Tests on 11 October at Sky Stadium in Wellington before moving north to Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday, 18 October.

The Wallabies will then return to Australia for a truncated Rugby Championship campaign on home soil, starting on 7 November.

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Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images